Betty Friedan: “The Feminine Mystique”

In 1962, Betty Friedan's book The Feminine Mystique captured the frustration and even the despair of a generation of college-educated American housewives who felt trapped and unfulfilled. Friedan (1921-2006), who went on to be a feminist leader and founder of the National Women's Organization, stunned the nation by contradicting the accepted wisdom that housewives were content to serve their families. This excerpt, translated to Persian by Tavaana, describes "the problem that has no name, a vague undefined wish for 'something more' than washing dishes, ironing, punishing and praising the children." Calling on women to seek fulfillment in work outside the home, Friedan declared, "It is time to stop giving lip service to the idea that there are no battles left to be fought for women in America, that women's rights have already been won." While Friedan's writing largely spoke to an audience of educated, upper-middle-class white women, her work had such an impact that it is credited with sparking the "second wave" of the American feminist movement. Decades earlier, the "first wave" had pushed for women's suffrage, culminating with the passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote in 1920. Now a new generation would take up the call for equality beyond the law and into women's lives. Click here to read more about the American feminist movement of the 1960s and '70s.

Tavaana Publication   Click here to read Tavaana's exclusive translation of "The Feminine Mystique."

 

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